Since having the “interim” tag removed from his title, Northwest College head women’s hoops coach Cam Levett has lived on the recruiting trail, signing and generating interest in …
Since having the “interim” tag removed from his title, Northwest College head women’s hoops coach Cam Levett has lived on the recruiting trail, signing and generating interest in the program from an impressive list of players.
Three of those who’ve committed to NWC — Samiyah Worrell, Riley Aiono and Lily Henry — were in town late last month, helping out at Levett’s girls’ basketball camp. All three are excited to be donning Trapper red this winter, and Levett is excited for what each will bring to the program.
“The first thing they bring in is height: Lily [Henry] is 6 feet, Riley [Aiono] is 6’1”. That’s something we didn’t have last year. I think we’ll have more of a post presence,” Levett said. “All three are really good athletes. They’re going to do the things we want to do as far as run the floor, and we’ll be able to get out and press a little bit this year. Those are big pieces right there.”
Worrell was the Colorado Springs Metro League 5A Player of the Year in 2019, and is the all-time leading scorer at Fountain-Fort Carson High School in Fountain, Colorado, with 1,456 points.
“Samiyah has all the credentials you could want in a basketball player,” Levett said. “Luckily I had a good relationship with her and her parents and her high school coach. She’s an unbelievable basketball player — she has a presence on the court. But she’s a true point guard. She can light it up with her shot, but she’s looking to get teammates involved.”
Levett said a campus visit sealed the deal for Worrell, who had over 20 offers from junior college, DII and DI schools before deciding to bring her talents to NWC.
“She [Worrell] just had a really good visit. I think this is a special place, a special campus,” he said. “The hardest thing is to get them to come visit Powell, but when they do, they feel comfortable. The kids feel at home, the parents feel safe sending their daughters here. I think she fell in love with the campus, and with our style of play. I think it’s a good fit for both of us.”
Worrell said her love of basketball comes from her older brother and her dad. She’s looking forward to getting to know the community and playing with her new teammates. Helping out with the basketball camp has also been a highlight, as she definitely sees coaching in her future.
“It’s fun working with all the kids,” she said. “As for basketball, I really like the competition. I think that’s what I enjoy the most.”
Levett predicted that Worrell will be a fan favorite.
“She’ll be fun to watch,” Levett said, adding, “Again, she’s a kid that can score right away, but she’s so unselfish that everyone loves playing with her.”
A native of California, Aiono played her high school ball at Woods Cross High School in Bountiful, Utah. The 6 foot, 1 inch forward/post averaged 10.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks her senior season. Levett said what Aiono lacks in experience she makes up for in raw talent, and he expects her to be a force in the middle this coming season.
“We were really happy to get Riley. She’s from a military family that moved around a lot, so I think that kind of slowed her development with basketball,” Levett said. “She was a swimmer and a volleyball player, so she picked up basketball late, but she fell in love with the game. She’s a little raw, but you can’t teach her height and athleticism.”
Levett traveled to Salt Lake City to watch Aiono play in a senior showcase, and came away impressed.
“She was blocking shots, she was running the court hard,” he said. “She was setting ball screens. She was doing everything that I’ll ask her to do here. We’re really excited to have her; she’s very coachable.”
As for what she’s looking forward to the most about playing at NWC, Aiono said cultivating chemistry with her new teammates and seeing what she can accomplish as a player tops the list.
“I’m looking forward to just skyrocketing in growth,” she said. “When you’re in college, all you do is basketball and school, and I’m excited for that. My teammates are really nice and easy-going off the court, but really intense on it. I’m excited to play with them.”
Pulling on a NWC jersey this year will make it a family affair for Henry: Her younger sister Tess was a standout on the court last season for the Lady Trappers. The elder Henry played her high school ball at Layton Christian Academy in Layton, Utah, where she led the Lady Eagles to two state championship appearances. An All-State selection and a McDonald's All-American nominee, Henry played one season at Corban University in Oregon in 2017. She left Corban for family reasons, but never lost the desire to play. Seeing how much her sister enjoyed the NWC experience last season, she decided to give collegiate ball another go.
“Being around the team last year, I realized how much I really missed it,” Henry said. “I called up Coach Cam and asked for a shot.”
For his part, Levett said he was thrilled to have Henry after getting to know her last season.
“She’s [Henry] been sitting out awhile, but she’s got one more year of eligibility in the junior college ranks,” Levett said. “She’s really excited [and] she’s been working hard this summer.”
Henry is a little older than most of her new teammates, and will bring a maturity to the team, according to Levett. All of the returners had a chance to get to know Henry through her sister last season, and becoming a part of the team will be an easy transition.
“Being older, being more mature, being more physically developed, she [Henry] is going to bring kind of a nasty side to the game,” Levett said. “She has really good footwork. She’ll knock the rust off early and be ready to go. Everyone looks up to her, and they expect her to play well for us.”
As for Henry playing with her sister, Levett said a friendly rivalry exists between the two, though they always have each other’s backs.
“I’ll tell you what, those two push each other more than I ever could,” Levett said of the Henrys. “They hold each other accountable, and they both want to be good, keep each other motivated. Not only are they sisters, I think they’re best friends. They have more secret handshakes than you could write a book on. The chemistry is fantastic.”
“Me and Tess have always been best friends, so even when we played one-on-one, it was always to just make each other better,” she said. “When people would ask, I always told them Tess was better. I just always wanted her to do well.”
Now they’ll both hope to do well for the Trappers this fall.